A classic beef and Guinness pie recipe, made easy with a store-bought puff pastry topping.
If you’re looking for a special dish for St. Patrick’s Day that doesn’t involve corned beef, this is it! It’s easy to prepare (especially by using ready-made puff pastry) and full of wonderful flavours from the Guinness-braised beef in a rich gravy.
Speaking of gravy, my stew didn’t really thicken as much in the oven as I like, so I made a quick slurry of cornstarch and water and used it to thicken it after taking it out of the oven.
You may be tempted to add some potatoes or vegetables into this pie but take my word for it, it’s better without, leaving the beef to shine on it’s own. This pie is wonderful served with a side of mashed potatoes and vegetables and of course, a pint of Guinness.
Cook’s Notes: If you’re looking for a special dish for St. Patrick’s Day that doesn’t involve corned beef, this is it! It’s easy to prepare and full of wonderful flavours from the Guinness-braised beef in a rich gravy. Resist the urge to add potatoes or vegetables into this pie. This is a perfect beef pie just as it is. Of course, serve them on the side, if you like.
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. water (or a bit more, if needed)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup Guinness or other Irish stout
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- Ready-made, frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp. water
- Preheat your oven to 350° F.
- In a shallow bowl or deep plate, stir together the flour, salt, and pepper. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Coat the beef on all sides in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess flour. Transfer the floured beef to a separate plate.
- In a large Dutch oven or oven-proof pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat on your stove top until very hot. Brown the beef in batches, adding only enough to cover the bottom of the pan each time. Turn regularly to brown beef on all sides. This should take about 5 minutes for each batch of beef. Transfer the browned beef to a clean bowl or plate and set aside.
- Into the same large pot (without cleaning), add the onion, garlic and water and cook, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot and stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. If necessary, you can add a bit of water to the pot if it seems too dry and things are sticking too much. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the browned beef along with any juices accumulated in bowl. Add the broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce and thyme and bring this to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot and transfer to the pre-heated 350° F. oven. Note: If you’re pot doesn’t have a lid, just cover it tightly with tin foil, instead.
- Allow meat to cook in the oven until the beef is very tender and sauce has thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. If the sauce is not thick enough, you can make a slurry of 2 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with just enough water to make a paste and then stir this into stew a bit at a time until the sauce has thickened into a gravy. Discard thyme and allow the stew to cool, uncovered, about 30 minutes. The stew needs to cool a bit before assembling pies, or it will melt the uncooked pastry topping.
- Place baking dish or dishes onto a shallow baking pan and pre-heat oven to 425° F.
- If making individual pies, divide the cooled stew among bowls. They won’t be completely full. Alternately, spoon all the meat mixture into a baking dish. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry dough into a square about 1/8 inch thick. Trim the edges to make an even square, if necessary. For four individual pies, cut the dough into four equal pieces. For one pie, leave whole. Stir together the egg and water and brush a 1-inch border of egg wash around edge of pastry. Invert pastry over each bowl and drape it over the sides, pressing lightly to help it stick to the sides of the bowls. Brush the tops of the pastry with some of remaining egg wash.
- Bake pies in the preheated 425° F. oven until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400° F. and bake 5 minutes more to fully cook the dough through.